CHICAGO – Being on the injured list, Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said, can feel like "the end of the world."
But not for Byron Buxton.
The American League Player of the Month for April has been on the 10-day list for a week because of a right hip strain, but Buxton's injury history makes him well-versed in how to handle such setbacks.
"It's more frustrating when you feel like you're doing everything right and injuries still seem to kind of pop up," Buxton said. "Normally if you're running into walls or whatever the situation may be, you expect at some point you're going to be on the DL or the IL. This year I felt good. I felt confident, still feel confident in how I was playing in the outfield. It's just stuff that you've just got to be positive about, keep that mental strength."
Buxton said he felt a stretch when running to first in the seventh inning of last Thursday's 4-3, 10-inning loss to the Rangers. Buxton thought it was just common tightness from playing the night before and turning around for a day game. He stayed in the game but ended up hobbling to first base on a ground ball in the ninth before heading to the clubhouse.
"About five steps out of the box on the play I got hurt on, I felt the stretch, but it was a little bit more intense. Kind of the next step was more of a grab," Buxton said. "It kind of went from one step to the other and from that stretchy soreness to more of a pinch."
Buxton said "anything is realistic" about when he could return, though he said coming back once his 10-day stint is up is not the case. But he seemed optimistic about returning within a month. Until then, though, he said he'll continue to watch the games and analyze video for pitchers' tipoffs and such to help his teammates in his absence.
"His presence never goes away, and that's not something that you always see, I don't think, in professional sports," Baldelli said. "He brings it every day, and whether that's on the field or off, he's always there and bringing it. Again, when he steps into the clubhouse, whenever you see him, he's an uplifting guy, and he's as supportive as they come."
The Twins were without their shortstop Thursday at Guaranteed Rate Field. Baldelli took Andrelton Simmons out of Wednesday's game in the sixth inning as a precautionary measure for recurring right ankle inflammation. Jorge Polanco moved to shortstop, with Luis Arraez playing second.
"I think [he's] improved from last night but still sore. I wanted to get him off his feet [Wednesday] and give him a day and see how he's doing," Baldelli said pregame. "If we need him to come in, he will be available to play. But it's not as if this is something that simply is better because we got him out of the game last night. He's still dealing with it."
Descalso joins Saints
Daniel Descalso, a 2011 World Series champion with St. Louis, signed a minor league contract with the Twins.
The 34-year-old will report to Class AAA St. Paul, returning to baseball after most recently playing 82 games in 2019 with the Cubs
A utility player, Descalso has a career .235 average with the Cardinals, Rockies, Diamondbacks and Cubs.
Fans will be back
The Twins started this season at Target Field limited to only 10,000 fans because of a state mandate. With COVID-19 restrictions rolling back, they will begin increasing their numbers Friday against Oakland.
The remaining 12 home games in May will allow 60% capacity, about 23,700 fans. In June, home capacity will dial up to 80%, or 31,600 fans. As of July 5, the stadium can be full, although the team still will sell a few select socially distanced seats throughout the season by request. Fans will still have to wear masks.